Student and Affiliate Regulations for College Systems

Student and Affiliate Regulations for the Use of Computing, Communications and Video Systems at Trinity College

(Faculty and staff should refer to the Acceptable Use of College Computer Systems section of the employee handbook.)

The College provides an outstanding set of computing and communication services which grant unparalleled power and freedom to every member of our academic community. With that freedom and power comes the responsibility to use them in a socially responsible way. Like any community, the electronic community of which you are now a member cannot function without some sense of order.

Please take a few minutes now to read the guidelines discussed below. Keep in mind that

 it is your responsibility to know and adhere to these regulations. Ignorance of the rules is not an acceptable defense.
 

Guiding Principles

Purpose and Scope of Service

Trinity College's voice, data and video communication networks are for the use of Trinity College students, faculty, and staff, and are to be used only for the academic, educational and research purposes of the College.

Accounts given to you for accessing the network, e-mail, the Web, the Library, and other shared systems are provided expressly for your personal use only, and are not to be used by anyone else, including family members.

Giving access to your account to anyone off campus may result in permanent suspension of your access privileges.

Scholarly Integrity and Author's Rights

"Respect for intellectual labor and creativity is vital to academic discourse and enterprise. This principle applies to all works of all authors and publishers in all media. It encompasses respect for the right to acknowledgement, right to privacy, and right to determine the form, manner, and terms of publication and distribution.

Because electronic information is volatile and easily reproduced, respect for the work and personal expression of others is especially critical in computer environments. Violations of authorial integrity, including plagiarism, invasion of privacy, unauthorized access, and trade secret and copyright violations, [are] grounds for disciplinary action."

- Taken from The EDUCOM Code:  http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/html/code.html

Anonymity and Responsibility

It is technically possible to put someone else's name, email address or telephone number as the sender of a message sent through an electronic network. with ambiguous identification of the sender. Because of the relatively impersonal nature of the interaction, opportunities exist for misuse. Making one's messages appear to originate from someone else is prohibited.

Exercise caution in letting other individuals use your computer. The owner of the computer will be held responsible for any inappropriate use of the computer, along with whomever actually committed the offense.

Applicability of Existing Codes of Conduct

Computer and network use on campus are guided by the same principles, and subject to the same disciplinary sanctions (and appeals processes), as are other campus activities. All the rules and regulations of the College, as outlined in the student Handbook, including any disciplinary action specified, extend to all areas of computer use, both academic and non-academic. Common sense, common courtesy, and consideration of the implications of one's actions within the context of our academic community are essential, and extend the scope of these Guidelines beyond any listing of specific prohibitions. Understanding this is part of your responsibilities.

A few analogies may serve to clarify how these principles apply to the new media:

  • Gaining unauthorized access to an account or directory is analogous to breaking into a room or office.
  • Looking at files on a private directory or drive is analogous to going through someone's desk, which, if unauthorized, is a violation of privacy.
  • The facilities provided for communication between computers are analogous to the telephone and postal systems, and the same standards of ethical behavior apply.
  • Writing a program is like writing an essay and the same rules of intellectual honesty apply.
  • Unauthorized modification of a hard drive or other system is vandalism.
  • Downloading copyrighted software, music and movies using file-sharing programs or making unlicensed copies of them is theft and is a federal crime.
  • Sending lewd or intimidating messages via the network is harassment.

Network Use Guidelines

While the general principles discussed above provide guidance for virtually all activities on the College's computer, voice, and video networks, the newness and phenomenal growth of telecommunications systems and services warrants additional attention.

Network Use Guidelines Enumerated

The Network Use Guidelines bring into sharper relief a number of salient issues. All traffic on the campus communications networks must hew to these Guidelines. Use of the networks must

  • Be consistent with the purposes of the networks
  • Not interfere with the work of other users of the networks
  • Avoid wasting campus computing resources
  • Be consistent with applicable state and federal law
  • Be consistent with all other regulations set forth in the Trinity College Handbook

Examples and Explication

Here are some examples of activities that would violate one or more of the guidelines. They are meant to be illustrative, not exhaustive.

Be consistent with the purposes of the networks

Trinity College's voice and data communication networks are for the use of Trinity College faculty, students, and staff, and are to be used only for the academic, educational and research purposes of the College. Usage that is prohibited because it conflicts with the stated purposes of the networks includes, but is not limited to, these examples:

  • Providing your username and password to an off-campus individual for any reason is expressly forbidden.
  • Using the College networks to support personal or other business interests, beyond the College's own efforts, is forbidden. This includes advertising and marketing as well as substantive services. Selling information intended for members of the campus community only or selling access to or via Trinity's networks to outside concerns is forbidden.
  • It is not acceptable to use the printing facilities to produce output which is not related to the College's mission (i.e. it is not acceptable to print announcements or fliers for outside agencies, materials for a spouse's club, etc.)

Do not interfere with the work of other users

Usage that is prohibited because it may interfere with the work of other users includes, but is not limited to, these examples:

  • Usage that is likely to result in the loss or disruption of another person's work or service is prohibited. Examples of prohibited activities include tampering with data, voice, or video network electronics or wiring, or interfering with an active client computer or network server.
  • Use of servers or applications providing a critical network service such as DNS, NAT, DHCP, or PROXY, as well as the use of any unregistered network device, or devices requiring compliance and centralized network management such as switches, routers, and wireless access points are restricted. This policy exists solely as an effort to prevent the interruption of production network services, and as a means for maintaining reliable network operation, performance and security.
  • The intentional introduction of viruses, or malicious tampering with any computer system, is expressly prohibited.
  • Messages which cause an ongoing interruption in the work of another person are strictly prohibited (ex., "Broadcast" messages which are sent after the recipient has requested that they stop or are sent indiscriminately to large groups of users). E-mail "Chain letters" are expressly forbidden.

Avoid wasting campus computing resources

Usage that is prohibited because it wastes computing and/or network resources includes, but is not limited to, these examples:

  • Network bandwidth is to be considered a vital, shared resource. Any application which might cause congestion of the networks or otherwise interfere with the work of others is not allowed. Such applications include any E-mail "chain letters," unwantedmessages sentto lists or individuals, and excessive transfer or downloading of large files.
  • Disk storage space on College-owned networked computers is a limited resource. Personal files (including work in progress) will not be saved on public access personal computers. Files saved in personal accounts must be academic discipline-related and are subject to review by Information Technology Services staff. 
  • It is not acceptable to print multiple copies of output on public printers.

Be consistent with applicable state and federal law

Usage that is prohibited because it conflicts with state or federal law includes, but is not limited to, these examples:

  • Messages which harass an individual or group are strictly prohibited and will be prosecuted. 
  • Users of the Trinity networks may not "share" copyrighted material for which they do not have the license to "share". This includes computer programs ("software"), audio files, video files, electronic texts, and all other media.

Software

  • A personal, single-copy software license is not a license to "share" the software.  It is each individual's responsibility to make sure that the she or he has the proper license to use a specified software package or media file. A good rule of thumb is to never use software or media which you did not purchase.
  • Copying licensed software that you did not purchase is software piracy. Software piracy is a federal crime. Do not copy other students' software, and do not offer your own software for copying.
  • Unless explicitly noted, all software on the Internet should be considered copyright work. Therefore, students are prohibited from downloading software and/or modifying any such files without permission from the copyright holder or as granted in a license agreement or other contract defining use.

Music and other Media Files

  • Exchanging digital copies of music files, often in the "MP3" format, has become popular. Posting on the network, or in any other way exchanging copies of songs from commercial music CD's is illegal. Musicians and their recording companies do not provide you with a license to share copies of their music when you purchase an audio CD. On several occasions in the past, Trinity College was officially contacted by lawyers from the Recording Industry Association of America when such copies were traced to our campus. The RIAA and related groups vigorously defend the copyrights on their properties, and have taken legal actions against students to preserve these rights.
  • Even more fundamental is the College's expectation that all members of our campus community will respect the value of intellectual and creative labor, which is the essence of our enterprise. The copyright law is simply a manifestation of this principle, one that all students and staff members must scrupulously respect.

More information on copyright issues can be found on the web at the Business Software Alliance: http://www.bsa.org/anti-piracy and the Software & Information Industry Association: http://www.siia.net/. Information on MP3 (music) files can be found at http://www.riaa.com, the Recording Industry Association of America. See also the EDUCOM code, cited at the beginning of this document.

There are a number of legal downloading alternatives, and a list of the most common ones is available online from EDUCAUSE:

http://www.educause.edu/legalcontent

Be consistent with the regulations set forth in the Trinity College Handbook

As mentioned in the Guiding Principles, above, existing codes of conduct are directly applicable to computer and network usage. Usage that is prohibited because it is not consistent with the College Handbook includes, but is not limited to, these examples:

  • It is not acceptable to alter, disable or remove any software which resides on a machine in the Trinity public computing areas or is accessible via Trinity's network resources.
  • The intentional introduction of viruses, or malicious tampering with any computer system, is expressly prohibited.
  • It is not acceptable to attempt to discover or obtain via coercion, hacking or any other method user accounts and passwords. It is also against the policy for any unauthorized parties to utilize the network administrative accounts.
  • It is not acceptable to use another person's Trinity ID card and/or name to gain access to public computing resources, including printing resources.
  • It is not acceptable to physically tamper with, tap, disable, or remove any equipment, wiring or networking hardware from the public computing areas, class rooms, dormitory rooms or equipment areas. This covers computing, voice, and video network systems equally.

Additional detail on several issues may be useful at this point.

Racial and Sexual harassment via the network: Trinity College has explicit policies set forth in the Student Handbook regarding racial and sexual harassment. Neither of these transgressions will be tolerated on Trinity's networks and all incidents will be dealt with firmly, according to established procedures.

Personal accounts on Trinity's networks are for the personal use of the specified individual only, and are not to be shared. Giving your username and password to anyone, on or off campus, is expressly forbidden. An individual is ultimately responsible for all violations committed under their user ID, no matter if they claim the violation was committed by someone else who had authorized or unauthorized access to their user ID. If an individual suspects his/her user password has been compromised, it is that individual's responsibility to report it to Information Technology Services (students should call extension 2007, faculty and staff should call extension 2100) as soon as it is discovered.

(Parts of the preceding were originally derived from policies at several academic institutions and other organizations, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Software Publishers Association.)